Newspaper Article

June 19, 2021


"God Intends for Us to Be Fruitful"




Recently my son became a father for the first time. It’s wonderful to get to see him experience the joys of fatherhood now. This newest grandchild actually made his arrival in the world on my and my wife’s fortieth wedding anniversary. He was the best present we could have received for the occasion. As we celebrated with the rest of our children, grandkids, and family, it was a reminder of how the Lord has blessed us and how our union as husband and wife those many years ago has born much fruit.



Hopefully we can all say the same thing about our relationship with Christ. Jesus made it clear that fruitfulness is one of His purposes for our lives as His followers. “You did not choose Me, but I choose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). He also declared that through bearing fruit, we bring glory and honor to our Heavenly Father. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8). It sounds as if the more fruit we bear, the better.



One way such fruitfulness should manifest itself is through Christlike characteristics becoming more evident in our lives. We should experience spiritual growth and transformation in our hearts, minds, and conduct. The Bible even refers to those desirable qualities as “the fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:23). Are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control increasingly springing up in our lives?



Bearing fruit can also refer to the spiritual sons and daughters in whose lives we’ve played a role in their coming to know the Lord and in their continuing walk with Him. Maybe we’ve had a direct impact on some, even praying with them as they received God’s gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus. There may be others on whom we have had more of an indirect influence as we’ve prayed for them, encouraged them in their walk with God, shared truth, or simply lived before them as a Christlike example. Some of those people we may be able to point to and call by name. However, there may be others we’ve influenced of whom we’re not even aware. Just as my wife and I can look at our family and give thanks for God’s blessings, let’s all look with grateful hearts at how God has allowed us to bear fruit spiritually.



But let’s also endeavor to continue to bear fruit for the Lord. No matter our age or circumstances, the Lord can still work in us and through us to bear more fruit. The Bible even refers to those who will “still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing” (Psalm 92:14). It may be difficult to change as we get older and set in our ways, but the Lord can keep forming us more into the image of Jesus if we’ll cooperate with Him. Because of age or changing circumstances, we may not have as much interaction with others as we once did, but we can still pray, be an example, and find other ways to have a positive impact on others for the Lord.



If we’re staying close to Jesus and faithfully following Him, we will bear fruit. We don’t have to work to produce fruitfulness - it will naturally tend to happen if we’re spiritually healthy and staying connected to our source of spiritual life. We just have to keep the weeds and other obstacles out of the way that would hinder us from being fruitful.



So let’s thank God for past fruitfulness while seeking to bear even more fruit for Him in the days ahead.